Chico Freeman

Chico Freeman - ©

born on 17/7/1949 in Chicago, IL, United States

Chico Freeman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Chico Freeman

Chico Freeman (born Earl Lavon Freeman Jr.; July 17, 1949) is a modern jazz tenor saxophonist and trumpeter and son of jazz saxophonist Von Freeman. He began recording as lead musician in 1976 with Morning Prayer, won the New York Jazz Award in 1979 and earned the Stereo Review Record of the Year in 1981 for his album The Outside Within.[1][2]

Early years

Freeman was introduced to the trumpet by his brother Everett, who found a trumpet in the family basement.[1] Freeman began playing, inspired by artists such as Miles Davis. He went to Northwestern University in 1967 with a scholarship for mathematics and played the trumpet in the school, but did not begin playing the saxophone until his junior year. After practicing eight to ten hours per day and trying out for the saxophone section, Freeman quickly changed his major to music, and graduated in 1972. By that time he was proficient in saxophone, trumpet, and piano.

After graduation, Freeman taught at the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians School of Music in Chicago and started taking classes as a graduate student at Governors State University, earning a master's degree in composition and theory. Although most of Freeman's musical upbringing had been in jazz, at this time he began getting involved in blues music as well. He began playing at local Chicago clubs with artists such as Memphis Slim and Lucky Carmichael.


1976 saw the release of Freeman's first album as lead musician, Morning Prayer. The next year he moved to New York City, and widened his musical influences. The following years would be the most productive of his career, producing albums such as No Time Left, Tradition in Transition, and The Outside Within; the last of which earned him Record of the Year from Stereo Review.

He came to prominence in the late 1970s as part of a movement including Wynton Marsalis of modern players steeped in the traditions of jazz, recording for independent labels like India Navigation and Contemporary Records. Freeman's albums contain standards and compositions by modernists like John Coltrane as well as new tunes by Freeman and his contemporaries such as bassist Cecil McBee. The line-up on his 1981 album Destiny's Dance includes Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Hutcherson, Cecil McBee (these two contributing compositions), with Freeman playing tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. Freeman formed the band Guataca and released Oh By the Way... in 2002. Freeman has toured internationally, both with his band as well as with Chaka Khan, Tomasz Stanko, Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. Members of Guataca include Hilton Ruiz, Ruben Rodriguez, Yoron Israel, and Giovanni Hidalgo.

In 1989, he put together an electric band called Brainstorm consisting of himself, Delmar Brown (vocals and keyboards), Norman Hedman (percussion), Chris Walker (bassist), Archie Walker (drums).[3]

In 1998, Freeman produced an album for Arthur Blythe called NightSong, and in 1999 he began teaching at New School University.


As leader

  • Morning Prayer (India Navigation/Whynot, 1976)
  • Chico (India Navigation, 1977)
  • Beyond the Rain (Contemporary, 1978)
  • Kings of Mali (India Navigation, 1978)
  • The Outside Within (India Navigation, 1978)
  • Spirit Sensitive (India Navigation, 1979)
  • No Time Left (Black Saint, 1979)
  • Peaceful Heart, Gentle Spirit (Contemporary, 1980)
  • Destiny's Dance (Contemporary, 1981)
  • Tradition in Transition (Elektra/Musician, 1982)
  • The Search (India Navigation, 1982)
  • Tangents featuring Bobby McFerrin (Elektra/Musician, 1984)
  • Live at Ronnie Scotts (Hendring, 1988; recorded 1986)
  • The Pied Piper (Black-Hawk, 1987)
  • Tales of Ellington (Black-Hawk, 1987)
  • Lord Riff and Me (Whynot/Candid, 2010; recorded 1987)
  • Mystical Dreamer with Brainstorm (In & Out, 1989)
  • Youll Know When You Get There (Black Saint, 1990)
  • Sweet Explosion with Brainstorm (In & Out, 1990)
  • Threshold with Brainstorm (In & Out, 1993)
  • The Unspoken Word with Arthur Blythe live at Ronnie Scotts (Jazz House, 1994)
  • Focus (Contemporary/Fantasy, 1995)
  • Still Sensitive (India Navigation, 1995)
  • The Emissary (Clarity, 1996)
  • Oh, by the Way with Guataca (Double Moon, 2002)
  • Out of Many Comes the One (Arabesque, 2004)
  • The Essence of Silence with the Fritz Pauer Trio (CD Baby/Jive Music, 2010)
  • Elvin: Tribute to Elvin Jones with Joe Lovano (CD Baby/Jive Music/Edel, 2012)

As co-leader

With Arthur Blythe

  • Luminous (Jazz House, 1989)

With Arthur Blythe and Lester Bowie

  • Out Here Like This (Black Saint, 1988)
  • Unforeseen Blessings (Black Saint, 1989)

With Von Freeman

  • Freeman & Freeman (India Navigation, 1981)
  • Fathers & Sons (Columbia, 1982), only B-side (A-side provided by Marsalis family)
  • Live at the Blue Note with Special Guest Dianne Reeves (Half Note, 1999)

With The Leaders

  • Mudfoot (Black-Hawk, 1986)
  • Out Here Like This (Black-Hawk, 1987)
  • Unforeseen Blessings (Black Saint, 1988)
  • Heaven Dance (Sunnyside, 1988)
  • Spirits Alike (Double Moon, 2007)

With David Murray

  • David Murray, Chico Freeman with Özay (ITM, 2011)

With Roots (Arthur Blythe, Nathan Davis, Sam Rivers, a.o.)

  • Salutes the Saxophone - Tributes to John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and Lester Young (In & Out, 1992)
  • Stablemates (In & Out, 1993)
  • Say Something (In & Out, 1995)
  • For Diz & Bird (In & Out, 2000)

With Mal Waldron

  • Up and Down (Black Saint, 1989)

With The Young Lions (a.k.a. Lincoln Center Stars), feat. Wynton Marsalis, Paquito DRivera, Kevin Eubanks, Anthony Davis, a.o.

  • The Young Lions (Elektra/Musician, 1982)

As sideman

With Ahmed Abdullah

  • Abdullah Live at Ali's Alley (Cadence Jazz, 1980)

With Jack DeJohnette

  • Tin Can Alley (ECM, 1981)
  • Inflation Blues (ECM, 1983)

With Kip Hanrahan

  • Coup de tête (American Clavé, 1981)
  • Tenderness (American Clavé, 1990)
  • All Roads Are Made of the Flesh (American Clavé, 1995)

With Jay Hoggard

  • Rain Forrest (Contemporary, 1981)

With La Mont Zeno Theatre

  • Black Fairy (Taifa, 1975)

With Carmen Lundy

  • Moment to Moment (Arabesque, 1992)

With Cecil McBee

  • Compassion (Enja, 1977)
  • Music from the Source (Inner City, 1979)
  • Alternate Spaces (India Navigation, 1979)

With Don Pullen, Fred Hopkins and Bobby Battle

  • Warriors (Black Saint, 1978)

With The Pyramids

  • Music of Idris Ackamoor (Compilation on EM (Japan), 2006)

With Sam Rivers' Rivbea All-Star Orchestra

  • Inspiration and Culmination (BMG France, 1999)

With Dom Um Romão

  • Saudades (Water Lily Acoustics, 1993)

With McCoy Tyner

  • La Leyenda de La Hora (Columbia, 1981)

With Edward Vesala

  • Heavy Life (Leo, 1980)

With the Reto Weber Percussion Orchestra and Franco Ambrosetti

  • Face to Face (Live at the Jazzfest Berlin '99) (Double Moon, 1999)

With Mari Wilson

  • The Rhythm Romance (Dino, 1991)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Pilchak, Angela (2005). Contemporary Musicians, p. 7173, Detroit:Gale.
  2. [Chico Freeman at All Music Guide Allmusic biography]

External links

  • Official website.
  • Chico Freeman interview at
This page was last modified 16.07.2013 22:01:39

This article uses material from the article Chico Freeman from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.